Future Docs Have Their Say

Future physicians are gathered in Houston this week to discuss the challenges of entering the medical profession. They’ll also be discussing how they can influence the future of health policy. Houston Public Radio’s Capella Tucker reports.


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Hundreds of future doctors spent part of their time focusing on environmental health. 

Public Health Environment Coordinator Liza Goldman-Huertas.

“There’s an understanding that patients don’t live in a vacuum, that their environment and the social conditions in which they live also have a huge impact on their health and environmental health is becoming increasingly important for physicians who want to be advocates for patients, especially now with climate change, the urgency of taking action on environmental health is becoming more and more important.”

The American Medical Student Association is trying increase physicians’ focus on these matters. 
Even though it’s a relatively new area of study for medical students, Goldman-Huertas says making the connections between environmental factors and health can be done.

“When you talk about climate change they can be really complicated so there is an enormous role for scientists and physicians especially as advocates for the public health to translate what we do know and we do know a fair amount whether its from epidemiology or population health or, there’s just a huge range of data out there. There’s lots of uncertainty, but there’s enough that we do know that we really need to take action to protect the public’s health.”

Many other topics are being covered including how to increase the diversity of doctors. American Medical Student Association President Michael Ehlert says competition for medical schools is high.  He says the reforms need to happen earlier in education.

“So a lot of the reform that needs to go into is a reform that prepares people for the process. And currently there are challenges like being able to accept community college credits, even after people transfer to four year degrees. As well as showing young people that there are opportunities are out there.”

The American Medical Student Association annual convention looks to expand physicians-in-trianing view beyond the standard classroom. 

Capella Tucker, Houston Public Radio News.

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